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Canaan Ncube: Farewell to a gallant liberator (1939-2019)

02 Dec 2019 at 12:18hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has lost yet another illustrious fighter for the country's independence and freedom. This is Canaan Ncube, born in Nkayi District of Matebeleland North in Zimbabwe on 19 October 1939 in Dolahali. He passed away on 25th November2019 in Bulawayo.

Canaan Ncube was educated at Dolahali and Dakamela Primary schools in Nkayi before proceeding to Gloage Range Mission Upper Primary School, then went to John Tallach Secondary School. He subsequently trained as a teacher in Mtshabezi Mission. He taught in Nyumbani Primary School in Mtshabezi in 1962.

Like many in his generation, he was affected by racial and economic discrimination against the African majority by the Rhodesian minority regime designed to serve interests of people of European origin. He came into contact with political activists like Ethan Dube and Jacob Moyo. In 1964 he moved to Lobengula Primary School in Bulawayo. While here he became active in the African Teachers Association and was once its District Secretary. He was also involved in the Mpopoma Leaseholders Association. He played an important part in organizing against the Pearce Commission of 1971 which was canvassing proposals for a "negotiated settlement", undercutting the liberation movement.

In May 1977 Canaan Ncube decided to leave teaching to join the liberation struggle under the leadership of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) in Zambia. He and 20 others were flown to the then G.D.R (East Germany) where they studied Trade Unionism for 3 months and were introduced communism, Marxism and Leninism.
On his return to Zambia he stayed at Nampundwe and JZ Camps.

In October 1977, Canaan Ncube was one of 25 who left Zambia to do intelligence training in the then Soviet Union and returned to Zambia in September1978.  In October 1978 he was deployed to Bulawayo and Gweru where he operated.  He stayed in Gweru for 2 months and the fellow who was keeping him got arrested at his workplace and Canaan immediately left for Bulawayo. Most of his operations were inĀ¬ house.  Early December he left Bulawayo and returned to Zambia via Botswana.  But n Botswana he got arrested and was detained for a month.  After his release hr flew to Zambia and stayed at JZ Camp.

Canaan Ncube had been told by the head of ZAPU's  trade union department Comrade  Aaron Ndhlovu that the report he had written on his  operations in Bulawayo and Gweru was highly informative and the President J M NKOMO was eager to meet him. However his immediate commander told me that he was to be deployed to Hurungwe.  After a few days of his deployment he crossed the Zambezi River in what turned out to be a tough and hazardous operation for the ten cadres involved. Some used 2 dinghies but Canaan opted for a Tonga wooden canoe (mugoro) used by Zambian fishermen. The unit reached Hurungwe 7 days after crossing the Zambezi River. They were informed that Canaan had been assigned to operate in Gingira, a black farming community.  On his way to Gingira, on the 11th March 1979 at around 1.00pm during lunch they were suddenly attacked by the Rhodesian forces. Out of a group 7 men were lost,2 were captured and 2 were injured and Canaan was one of the injured.  He had been hit on the thigh but managed to escape.

Upon his return to Zambia and after one month in Lusaka, Canaan was deployed in the Southern Region based in Livingstone, a very dangerous place.  During the 1979 Lancaster House independence talks he was called to London to brief the Leadership on the attitude of the Guerillas on the talks. He was later deployed to Yugoslavia as ZAPU Representative.  

After the political settlement that resulted from Lancaster House talks he came home and formed a Union called Cement and Allied Workers Union. In November 1980 he was employed by the Ministry of Labour as an Industrial Relations Officer.  He was still active in ZAPU.  During the so-called "Unity Accord", he became Secretary for Security in the Bulawayo Province.  In 2008 when ZAPU pulled out of ZANU PF, he became ZAPU Provincial Chairman. He later served in the party's National People's Council (NPC). At the time of his death he had risen to the National Executive Committee (NEC) where he occupied the post of National Secretary for Security.

Canaan Ncube was a dedicated family man to the end. Before he went to join the Liberation Movement in Zambia he got married to ALMA MNKANDLA in 1965.  They had 3 children Caroline, Noeline (now late) and Silethemba.  It was not easy to leave these people behind going to an unknown land. When he returned home after the war they were blessed with a girl Mduduzi in 1983. He was a practising member of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA).
He will be laid to rest at the Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo on 2nd December 2019.

Source - Dr. Strike Mkandla, Zapu Secretary General
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